In Block Printing/Design/ Favorite Projects/ Portfolio

Block Printed Hand Dyed Hemp Linen

I’m running out of corners of my house to take photos in, but the good news is, it’s starting to stay light out after 5pm, and this week we had temps above the teens so I think Spring may actually be on the way! I really miss taking photos outside. …or doing anything outside besides freezing my face off. But anyways! Here’s my latest dress, and it’s arguably the most “me made” thing I’ve ever created.

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This fabric was provided courtesy of Organic Cotton Plus, aaaaaaand it’s currently out of stock right now which was really poor timing on my part. My apologies for reviewing a fabric that I can’t even link to at this time! Whoops! I’ll go back and add a direct link as soon as it’s available again.

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There are plenty of things I liked about this organic hemp linen fabric, and only one thing I did not like. The “bad news” first – This fabric is shifty. I had more movement when cutting out my pieces with this stuff than I did with the Cotton and Steel Rayon I used recently. I really can’t understand why it wiggled around so much under my rotary cutter, especially when the weave doesn’t appear all that loose to my eyes, but every grain of the fabric kind of felt like the bias grain when at the cutting table. …or maybe I’m just a brat and really love stable quilting cotton (That’s like a GEICO statement. Everyone knows that). …but I digress.

On to the good points! Aside from the amount of “shift” I was getting when cutting, the fabric really didn’t fray that badly at all, which surprised me.

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My very favorite part of this fabric is the drape! It’s …interesting. In an excellent way! When the fabric first arrived it was on the side of plain and underwhelming, but after I sent it through the wash it completely came to life! As I grabbed it out of the dryer I literally said “Ooooo floaty!!” with a small gasp of excitement. I spent the next several minutes just folding it up and dropping it on my kitchen table so I could watch it shimmy like a Jell-O Jiggler as it settled. Seriously, the drape is wild. It just floats! It’s bouncy! …Buoyant, even? And yet, I wouldn’t classify it as super light weight… it’s pretty magical stuff if you can tame it on the cutting table.

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On the Organic Cotton Plus website the fabric color was listed as taupe, so I was expecting a natural linen color, but I would definitely describe it as white when you see it in person. I can’t wear white things because I have cats and a dog who live on me like baby monkeys, so I decided to dye it a darker color. You can read more about my fabric dying fiasco adventures in this post, and I have to admit this is not my best work. …at all. I wasn’t attentive enough at the dye bath stage so my fabric is pretty mottled in a very amateur way. Oh well, I’ll chalk it up to a learning experience and a “chic antique-y design feature” that isn’t too noticeable in brighter light.

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The dress pattern is the same one that I made for my Wanderer fabric review, and since I’ve made a few changes to the fit, it’s quickly becoming my TNT pattern! I’ve made this dress three times now, making a tiny adjustment each time, and now feel like I have the basic shape/fit down pat. Next time I’ll try to draft a version with sleeves!

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The thing I’m most excited about on this dress, is the fact that I designed the border print myself! I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it many more times, but I’m totally in love with block printing. My goal is to make one block-printed garment a month, starting from here on out. It’s so much fun! I shared more about the block printing process in this post, and I don’t have too much to add on the subject at this time. I have NOT tried washing this dress since the ink cured, so I’m curious to see how the color holds up. It’s supposed to remain permanent through the wash but we’ll see.

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I used some vintage buttons and bias tape from my stash to accent the dress since it matched my ink color perfectly! The overall result is a little 70s, not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my favorite bygone era. I will admit though, I’m loving the rust orange/Lucky Lu-Teal color combo and can’t wait for warmer weather so this dress can see some sunlight!

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I’ve also been letting myself knit for about ten minutes a day for the past few days, so I’m really hoping to have another handmade hat to share with you in the near future! It’s been too long. *sigh*

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Well, that’s about all I have to say about this project! I think it just might be my most favorite thing I’ve made to date (I bet I’ll say that about every hand-dyed-block-printed thing I sew, haha!). I just bought the Marianne dress pattern by Christine Haynes, along with several interlock knits (from Organic Cotton Plus!) so I think the next project I share with you might very well be a stretchy one. GASP! Rochelle sewing with a knit?! I know!

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p.s. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post about stress and making time for important things. I appreciate your kind words more than you know <3

xo
Rochelle

  • Hanna Geshelin

    The gorgeous aqua is NOT a 70’s color–back then it would have been avocado. Love the color combo you used. Re the fabric shifting on the cutting table–would spraying lightly with sizing make a difference? One of the young sewing students at my Pocatello Sewing School had a knit that shifted all over, and a light spray made all the difference.

  • PamSpeak

    Gorgeous dress, the colour and accent are just perfect. Also I love your dog and want to shower her face with kisses.

  • It looks gorgeous! The printing is a great touch and I don’t think the dye job looks bad at all—I like the subtle variation!

  • Alice

    LOVE THE WHOLE DRESS! The block printing, the color combo! I love it!! Simple and with such so nice details! Yeah that’s a TNT! Be proud of yourself!

  • Victoria Anderson

    I put a bunch of block printing books on hold at the library, I’m excited to get them next week. I love the instagram you refered to the other week- inkprintrepeate, I think its called. I’ve done a little bit in the past and like it, but I don’t really trust my drawing skills, but I am hoping to find way around it.
    Your dress looks fab and I’m looking forward to seeing what block print garment you make next!

  • I love the block design that you chose! This is such a simple dress yet it makes such a statement.

  • Your dress is beautiful, I love the color combo. Those pictures of you and Lucille knitting are absolutely priceless! I look forward to seeing your finished knitting project.

    She Knits in Pearls

  • jannapyj

    When I saw the first photo, I squealed, “Lucille is knitting!” :o)

    This dress has such a beautiful organic appeal. The border speaks to my Czech roots! It was definitely worth the wait to see. Oh and the buttons…how perfect they are!!! I also think you look too cute with messy hair!!! :o)

    JJ
    http://www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

  • Goodness, yes, I am missing warmth, and light, and not feeling like I’m trying to copy Joey in that episode of Friends where he puts on all of Chandler’s clothing at once each time I go out. Here’s to a swift, sweet beautiful spring and all the lovely things I hope it brings your way,

    ♥ Jessica

  • Debra Ward

    Hmmm you’ve got me thinking now. I put block printing as a sort of “that’s neat” but now I’m thinking this is something I should try and do. Ideas are starting to float around in my head which may or may not be a good thing since there is already a lot of other things floating in there. Seriously cool dress!!

  • Melissa Hollenbeck

    I wish I could share our CA weather with you. It’s going to be in the 70’s all week. I think you are beyond creative! I love this dress, the blocking and trim make it. I’ll be interested to see how it holds up to washing.

  • JoezGal

    Your dress is gorgeous! The rust/teal combo is perfect and I just love the block print pattern. Kinda bummed that I can’t buy some fabric just like it.

  • sallieforrer

    Yay! This is so awesome!! I love that it’s handmade through and through. That’s such a great feeling. You should be so proud! And I know exactly what kind of ‘bounce’ you’re talking about with the linen and it’s one of my favorite things about the fiber too!

    • Thanks, Sallie! I’m definitely proud and it definitely feels good. I want as much handmade goodness in my life as I can get! And isn’t that bounce amazing?! I seriously couldn’t stop wiggling the yardage around haha! So shimmy-y 😉

  • Carolyn

    This is really beautiful Rochelle, and I absolutely love how truly handmade it is. Lucky Lu-Teal – fabulous! 🙂

    • Thanks, Carolyn 🙂 I want to strive for this kind of handmade in everything I do now. The effort is worth it!

  • It looks so lovely! It almost looks like an antique store find that you jazzed up. Love it!

    • Thanks, Carlee! I’m okay with the jazzed-up antique store look 😉

  • Jennifer Hill

    Your dress is wonderful, very inspiring, and I’m sooo looking forward to having a go at dying and printing fabric too; I’ve long wanted to. Fab! Jen

    • Thank you! You’ve got to try dying and block printing when you get the chance! Even when the results are far from perfect, the process is so very rewarding 🙂

  • Antigone

    beautiful!!

  • Your dress is gorgeous!I am loving the colour combination and the block-print design looks awesome. I am currently playing around with lino cutting. There is something therapeutic about all that carving…Now to find block printing ink in South Africa that can be printed and fixed onto fabric…

    • Thank you so much! I agree, the carving is extremely therapeutic, especially with these “Speedy Carve” blocks I found. Carves like butter! The inks I’ve been using are oil based fabric inks (can also be used for paper!) specifically for block printing by Speedball brand. Hey if you’re in South Africa you should check out Skinny laMinx! http://shop.skinnylaminx.co.za/collections/fabric Heather is a printer and makes the most beautiful fabrics 🙂

  • This colour looks amazing on you and combined with the Luckylu-teal…just wow!! I love the block printing and you should be super proud of it! Gorgeous!

    • Thanks so much, Heather! Yeah, I’m pretty proud 🙂

  • colesworth

    gosh there are some gorgeous looking fabrics at organic cotton plus! If only international shipping (and the dollar) hadn’t gotten so expensive.

    • Aww I’m sorry for the tease! I feel the same when I see beautiful things coming out of the UK and Australia!

  • Cedar

    I love how this turned out, the colors are perfect–and oh, those buttons, swoon!

    • Thank you! 🙂 The buttons really do pull everything together.

  • Natasha Friegang

    I like the color combo too. I have done a lot of tie dye in the past and it is very fun. I’m interested in the block printing. I think I will pin that link and look at trying it out this summer. Thanks!

    • Thank you! Tie Dye is so much fun. I do it every summer at camp. I’m interested in Japanese Shibori dying techniques too – similar to modern tie dye. I think everyone should give block printing a try! I’m getting a lot of use out of my Speedball Deluxe Beginner’s Kit 🙂

  • This is a fabulous color combination! Fun block printing design too. I think we creatives have to remember everything isn’t going to turn out perfect the first time. Whether that’s a new pattern, dyeing or some technique new to us. We should expect a learning curve and embrace it, instead of beating ourselves up when it’s not perfect the first time.
    Your dress looks great from here and I’m happy you are satisfied with it!

    • You’re so right about remembering to embrace the process. That’s so important! It did have a lot of fun making this dress, and the extra handmade effort feels so extremely rewarding. It’s just an added bonus that it turned out wearable and I love it 😉

  • Claire

    I love the last picture. It’s just perfect! I’m looking forwards to seeing what you make with interlock and what color you pick (or dye?). I’m tempted to be done with thicker wintery fabrics, but withers not going anywhere for another few months.

    • The last picture is my favorite too! That just about sums up my Happy Place lol. The interlock knits I bought are mostly prints (will share soon!), and they do feel nice and cozy thick. But with New York weather, the only months I probably WON’T be able to wear them is June through August lol. Every other month can be questionably cold!

  • Evie

    Love the color combination!

  • Rebecca

    I love your block printing! Great design and I love the rust/ teal color combo. Those buttons are fab! I just made a Holly Jumpsuit with this fabric myself and totally agree, I just love the drape and how it floats.

    • Thank you! Ooooo I bet a Holly jumpsuit in this fabric is seriously fantastic. I can picture the floaty-ness!